Sunday, February 27, 2011

Orchard Smudge Pots

On every cold night in winter, the grower must be ready with his orchard heaters. The heaters in commonest use are oil-burning stack pots, which are placed between the tree rows, one to a tree. With the broadcast of a frost warning, the watchman in charge of an orchard stays up all night, keeping crews ready to light the heaters with gasoline torches resembling an engineer’s long-spouted oil can. The burners must be watched and regulated at intervals. Where the smudge pot heating method is used, a thick blanket of black smoke produced by the fuel protects the trees from frost. Threat of frost is greatest about an hour before sunrise. During a cold period, everything within miles—clothing, furniture, faces—is covered with the greasy soot.

More information at the History of Glendora blog.


GoneferalinID said...

Great link, I love learning something new from history. I'd love to see people's reactions to the smudge pots today. Where I live, lots of people heat their homes with wood. The smoke drives my allergies nuts.

Haunted World of Bumble Bindlegrim said...

Loved imaging being in an orchard full of them waist high. I bet it was amazing to see (but not to breathe). I wonder if these guys had a nickname, like lighthouse keepers who were called Wickies.